Read today’s Advent Meditation…
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.”
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13) — From the NIV Study Bible
There is one gift that is easy to give. This is not on any shopping list but one which could be given every day, free and without any hassle. I am referring to the gift of encouragement.
People around us or far from us can receive this gift depending on the circumstances they are in. Anyone can experience low spirits any time, the feeling of isolation, the feeling of doubt about things, the desire to do something to be proud of, or the need to be recognized for who “we” are and what we do. Those of us who have been given encouragement in any of these circumstances can appreciate this encouragement as a gift whose value is more than material gifts can give.
Our children now and then tell us that our kind words and encouragements have kept them going and have inspired them to do the best in what they do. In one school where I’ve been subbing, I didn’t know anybody and nobody knew me when I started. I didn’t have any idea how I fitted in. Towards the end of the school year, one teacher leaving the school simply said: “They appreciate what you are doing and consider you as part of them.” I haven’t thought at all that I needed any encouragement but these words made me feel more positive.
Jesus is the gift of Christmas. He is the greatest giver of encouragement. Throughout his life on Earth he encouraged people from different walks of life and moral standards. Lives had been changed.
Let us follow his example and give sincere encouragement to our spouses, our children, relatives and friends, our pastor, or even to mere acquaintances, not once a year but every time we see it fitting.
Dear Lord, help us to be more sensitive to the others and to find the right words that would warm up the spirits of those in low spirits.
“And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this Child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”
Luke 2:17-18, 20
In 1994, two American professors on a teaching tour of Russia visited a Russian orphanage. Their visit fell near Christmas-time, so the professors shared with the orphans the Christmas story from Luke 2. Afterwards, the children created pictures about the Christmas story. One of the professors noticed that a particular boy, Misha, had drawn a manger with two babies in it.
This is how Misha explained it: baby Jesus, seeing that Misha had no parents and no home, had offered to let the little boy come stay with him. But I have no gift to give you, Misha had replied. So he offered to become a baby, too, and stay in the manger to keep baby Jesus warm. And baby Jesus had said that because of his great gift, Misha could stay with Jesus for always. Then, little Misha began to cry.
A poor abandoned child had found in the Christmas story a Savior who would never leave him, who promised to be with him—for always.
God, You who have loved us so much that You came to us in the form of a child, You have promised to never abandon us. Whenever we feel lost or alone, You are with us. From the depths of our hearts we say “Thank You”! AMEN.